October 28, 2017

Stop Overeating with Four Simple Steps

​Overeating is something most of us have done at one time in our lives or another. It happens more often than not, especially this time of year with the holidays looming around the corner. How many times have you stuffed yourself full to the brim on Thanksgiving or ate more cookies, cake or pumpkin pie than you needed to?​ I know I have. 

One year I ate a whole pound of black jelly beans on Christmas eve. A whole pound. Needless to say, I was up vomiting all night long from sugar poisoning. My system couldn't handle it. 

Unfortunately, holidays are not the only time people overeat. It can happen any time, and for most people it happens in the evenings during the time of transition from dinner to nighttime, when things start to wind down.

​​It can be easy to ​ingest more than a third of ​our daily calories just in the evening, and I'm talking AFTER ​dinner has already been eaten. Overeating happens very often when people sit in front of the TV and eat mindlessly. It also happens when we feel bored or {insert emotion we don't want to feel} and need to numb out.

Overeating is only a symptom of a deeper issue. When ​you start to look at WHY you overeat, you will be able to gain insight and understand your motives.

​Overeating is merely a symptom of something deeper going on inside of you. It has nothing to do with the food.

Click to Tweet

In my coaching practice, I work with all kinds of busy professionals who overeat on a regular. Evenings and weekends tend to be the most difficult times, or at parties or social gatherings. Food seems to be something that brings comfort in uncomfortable situations, or relieves boredom and bad feelings. But this often leads to a too-full-tummy and ​emotions of regret, guilt, shame...and TONS of judgement.

​Wanting to stop overeating is not as simple as making up your mind to do so. As I mentioned earlier, the overeating is merely a symptom of something deeper happening. When I was overeating, it was due to loneliness and ​hating the way I felt in my body. You would think that would stop me from eating, but as soon as I thought about restricting myself, I'd want to, and often would, eat more. It's a vicious cycle. 

Step one to stop overeating

Get Curious About the Why....

​Getting curious about why and when you overeat will be one of the biggest steps you can take in this journey. Like I mentioned above, there are many reason why we overeat and it usually has ZERO to do with the food. When you find yourself in a situation where you are overeating, start to ask yourself why you are doing and what you are feeling right in th​at moment.

Instead of continuing to shovel food into your mouth, PAUSE. There is a part of you that KNOWS what is going on, even though you may not want to admit it. Unfortunately, that part tends to fly under the radar, whereas the part of you going for the food and too much of it, is way louder.

If you start to lean into your behavior with non-judgement and curiosity, you will start to be able to tune into what is really happening that is leading you to overeat.​

Step Two to stop overeating

​Slow Down and Take a Pause

​One of the biggest reasons why people overeat is because they are in a rush. Everyone is SO busy and eating can feel like one more thing we have to do. People want to rush through meals to get it done, or eat at their desks so they can keep working, but this is a surefire formula to overeat.

Every time you are going to eat a meal or a snack, find somewhere quiet to sit down and enjoy your food. Make eating an experience. ​It's common for people ​to rush through eating because they feel guilt or shame around what they are eating. I used to hide in the kitchen at night when no one was around, and shove 2-3 cupcakes down my throat as fast as I could. It was almost as if I was trying to trick myself, but that never worked.

​Slowing down while you eat will allow your body to slow down and absorb the food better. You will also be able to tune into your body's satiety signals much easier. I know that when I eat at my desk while working, I eat WAY more food than I need to. And half the time, I don't even remember I ate because I plowed through it so fast. It also happens when I watch TV and eat...bag of chips...POOF!

Step Three to stop overeating

​​​Nourish Yourself

​When I say nourish yourself, I mean more than with food. Overeating can be a by-product of not taking care of yourself and feeling nourished on a deeper level.

When you are stressed and out and overloaded, food can feel like the quickest way to change your state and bring you some other feeling. Most people don't want to admit they feel stressed or overwhelmed, and food is easily accessible. When you eat, dopamine is released in the body, and it feels good. Especially if you are eating something sugary, gooey or crunchy. 

This release can become addictive, and that is why so many people turn to food when they are feeling stressed, ​depleted, overwhelmed, etc. So, find other ways to nourish yourself on a deeper level in your life. Find things you love, and do those, and make sure to put it in your calendar or it will never happen. This whole self-care thing is NOT a cliché, it's one of the most important things you can do for yourself in this lifetime. Trust me.

Step ​FOUR to stop overeating:
Build body trust

​Most of us live in our heads all day long. Our egos run the show and tell us all the things that are wrong with us, or the things we should do or shouldn't do, especially when it comes to eating.

The diet culture is SO prominent today and it's almost the norm to be on a diet. It's the first thing people turn to when they feel as though they need to lose weight or have been eating "bad."  It creates massive disconnection and mistrust of our bodies.

Your body wants to be healthy, balanced and vibrant. It's actually working really hard every day to do that, but sadly we are listening too much to what other people are telling us to eat, or the latest diet fad that is out there that we think will be the answer.  Being disconnected from our bodies is one of the biggest reasons why we overeat. We are SO in our heads all the time, we can't feel what is happening in our bodies.

Next time you eat, when you slow down (Step 2) take a deep breath and connect to your body. See how it's feeling and what it wants. Get quiet enough to listen and hear it. It is always talking to you, trust me on that. Your body doesn't want to be stuffed to the gills, it actually hates it. Your body wants to be nourished, cared for and respected. So, connect, tune in and listen. Then take your next step.

​Try these steps on for the next 7 days and see how you feel. I would love to hear your comments and insights below! 

Stop Overeating

Melissa Costello

Author, Speaker, Culinary Plant-Based Nutrition & Health Empowerment Coach | Cleanse Expert

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: